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Repairs to Closed Arizona Route Could Take More Than Two Years

July 15, 2013

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Cutting back the mountain slope and constructing a gravity buttress wall is part of the proposed solution to repair U.S. 89 near Page, Ariz., which was damaged in a Feb. 20 landslide. The repairs, at an estimated cost of $40 million, could take more than two years to complete.

Almost immediately after the February landslide forced the closure of the highway south of Page, the Arizona Department of Transportation began assembling a team of geotechnical experts to examine the stability of the mountain slope that carried the damaged highway and searching for options available to reopen the roadway.

The active landslide is approximately 135 feet below the roadway and measures approximately 1,200 long at the base of the slope.

A 463-page report listed several alternatives for the ultimate repair of U.S. 89, but the construction of a landslide buttress and upslope lane adjustment was considered the most feasible preferred alternative. At a later date, ADOT will formally request additional federal aid to fund the repairs.

ADOT previously was awarded $35 million in federal aid to pave Navajo Route 20 and establish it as a shorter detour route until repairs are complete on U.S. 89.

Construction started in late May on N20 and is scheduled to be completed in August. The route will eventually serve as the interim bypass for drivers and will be designated Temporary U.S. 89 (U.S. 89T) once paving is complete.

The current detour established for drivers is using U.S. 160 (Tuba City exit) and State Route 98, which is approximately 115 miles long and 45 miles longer than the direct U.S. 89 route. Drivers also have the option to take U.S. 89A north to Marble Canyon toward Fredonia to reconnect to U.S. 89 in Kanab, Utah.

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